Ever since I was a child, religion and spirituality were important to me. With a pillow case hanging off my head, I was Sister Mary Ashley teaching my stuffed animals about communion and rosary beads. I didn't really know what I was talking about, my family were not practicing Catholics. I was not even familiar with who Jesus was or any of the stories in the Bible, but bless my heart I tried. I got about 3 chapters into the Book of Genesis before giving up and proclaiming the Bible a bore!
As I entered my teens, a friend of mine introduced me to the works of Scott Cunningham. I had always wanted to believe in magic and now there was someone telling me it was real! I couldn't believe it and I couldn't get enough of it. I started gathering as many books as my local library had and devoured information on Wicca. I joined online forums for teens and spent hours online discussing the merits of different pantheons, whether Hell was real, or how to read an aura. It felt like I finally had a name, a nice little box to put all of the beliefs in.
As my interest in religon grew, so did my curiosity of the other faiths the world had to offer. Little by little I started to learn more about different forms of Buddhism, Islam, Ba'hai, Withcraft, Satanism, various Pagan branches and a bit on Hinduism. Notice how I didn't mention Christianity? I felt like living in a pre-dominantly Christian society, I knew all there was to know about that slice of the spiritual pie, so why bother?
But I was wrong. Christianity got me during my college years. A friend in the dorms had asked me on two occassions to go to her campus worship service and twice I had turned her down. When she asked again I couldn't bear being rude to her, so I gave in and went. The night I went they were coincidentally starting a 3 week introduction to Christianity: Who Is Jesus, Sin, and Salvation. The first night there I cried my eyes out, my chest tight with conviction and also hope for a better relationship with God. After the second service I knew without a doubt that the next meeting I attended, the one on salvation, I was going to get baptized. So on October 18th, 2005 I was born-again. I felt accepted. Not only by God and his Son, but also by my peers and society in general. My mom bought me a gold cross necklace that I wore with pride. I joined the church choir, prayed daily, and spent a lot of time studying the Bible. I was a new creation and my Pagan past, though it was hard to give up some of the beliefs I had held since childhood, was now buried forever. Or, so I thought.
A year after leaving school, I still had not joined a church at home. I wanted to, I tried a few different places, but they never gave me the same feeling as my college church. I continued to read the Bible and study, but my prayer life started to deflate. I found myself tip-toeing around Jesus-- We were still friends but our relationship wasn't as strong as it had been before. Old beliefs, old ideologies I thought I had let go off started to resurface. Reincarnation, the evolution of the soul, how did this deep-seated belief I had respressed for so long fit in with my relationship with Jesus? How can He save me from Hell if I don't even believe it's an actual place? My Christian identity started to fall apart. I took off the gold cross necklace, I stopped calling myself a Christian, and I put away my Bible studies. I felt like I had a hole in my heart, a spritiual emptiness that had been so full for so long. A huge part of my life was torn asunder and I wanted it back. But I knew I couldn't force myself to believe in something I didn't feel was true in my heart.
I half-heartedly reinvestigated Judaism. I figured it was like Christianity lite-- All the Old Testament stories I knew and loved but without Jesus. I loved God and I loved the idea of being part of His chosen tribe, gathering around the Sabbath candles, speaking the ancient Hebrew prayers, and being connected to something larger than myself again. But out of respect for the religion of the Jews, I decided not to go through with my hopes to convert. It wasn't that my heart was in the right place, it was that I didn't want to commit to a faith I respected so much while still holding onto very non-monotheistic beliefs.
Fast forward a couple years to January of '08. I found myself at a Holistic Festival, surrounded b psychics and gemstones and candles and Tarot cards-- Everything I loved but had held at bay for so long. I had a reading with a wonderful and gifted psychic named Rennae. She brought up so many things I had buried in my psyche, I got teary-eyed at the unexpectedness of it all. She reminded me that I love that world, the the metaphysical world, and that by repressing it I was only doing damage to myself. She helped me open my eyes to my heart's true spiritual desire and outlined ways I could start to very slowly work my way back into it. That was only two months ago, but it feels like a whole new, more authentic me has emerged. I found my foothold and have been pursuing the things that resonate within me with fervence.
I've made peace with my past. I feel that all of the agony and ecstasy were neceassry parts of my soul development. I look back on all of it, especially my Christian past, with fondness and appreciation. I learned so much about myself, the world, and the nature of the divine that to think about none of it happening at all is scary to me. It all happened for a reason and for that I am thankful.
Currently my endeavors are focued upon learning as much as I can about crystals and gemstones, energy, visualization, meditation, and my relationsip with the earth, the spirit world (namely Angels and my guides), and the divine. Little by little I will branch off and dive into deeper spiritual waters, but I'm taking it one step at a time. I am trying to create a solid foundation for myself so that I can never again lose who I really am.